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Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Patriots positional review: CB

By Field Yates

Continuing our positional review/offseason preview, here’s a look at the Patriots cornerbacks, ordered in percentage of defensive snaps played.

Aqib Talib
Age: 27
2013 status: Played and started 13 games. Led all cornerbacks in terms of snaps, playing 73.4 percent.
2013 highlights: Talib had dominant stretches of the season, often being used to line up opposite an opponent’s top wide receiver. Dealt with a hip issue that contributed to him missing time and left the AFC Championship Game with a knee injury. Had 41 tackles and four interceptions, earning Pro Bowl and second-team All-Pro honors.
Current contract runs through: Free agent

Kyle Arrington
Age: 27
2013 status: Played in every regular-season game, starting 12. Played just more than 72 percent of the defensive snaps and was used both as a slot and perimeter cornerback.
2013 highlights: For the fourth straight season, Arrington played in every regular-season game despite working through injury issues of his own. Had some up-and-down moments but contributed a total of 62 tackles and an interception. He was used in anywhere from a second-to-fourth cornerback role, depending on the circumstances of the game and performance.
Current contract runs through: 2016 season

Alfonzo Dennard
Age: 24
2013 status: Played in 13 games, starting nine. Dealt with a knee issue that forced him to miss three contests.
2013 highlights: Blossomed in his second season, having strong stretches as the team’s No. 2 cornerback. Including the playoffs, finished with three interceptions. Dennard does not have the size and speed to be a pure No. 1 cornerback, but he does have what it takes to be a solid complementary option.
Current contract runs through: 2015 season

Logan Ryan
Age: 22
2013 status: Played in every game, starting seven regular-season contests. Contributed on special teams and played a total of 51.7 percent of the regular-season defensive snaps.
2013 highlights: Had a superb rookie season, leading all first-year NFL players with five interceptions. Returned one pick for a score and displayed strong ball skills throughout the year. An inside/outside cornerback, the third-round pick looked like the real deal in his first pro season. A bright spot for the secondary going forward.
Current contract runs through: 2016 season

Others on the roster: Justin Green

POSITIONAL NEED: Count Talib among the top priorities to re-sign this offseason, as it’s a debate between he and Julian Edelman. He’ll cost good money, but Talib has established himself as one of the dominant cornerbacks in football and will turn 28 later this month. Beyond Talib, the Patriots have very good top-four depth with Arrington, Dennard and Ryan, as both Ryan and Dennard have a chance to further evolve into standout players. Arrington provides toughness, durability and flexibility. If Talib returns, the secondary once again has a chance to be the strength of this defense.